Thursday, October 29, 2009

Exciting News - Woolworth Walk!

I actually have two pieces of exciting retail news, but I'm going to take them one at a time. The second part comes tomorrow.

But for the first part - I now have a space at Woolworth Walk selling my botanical beeswax candles! Funny aside about Woolworth Walk - it's in the building that housed the Woolworth department store many, many moons ago. And lo those many moons ago, when I was a little girl, I can remember my mom taking me shopping in there. My main memory is that the toy department was downstairs - and now so are my candles. Something about that appeals to me.

Here are a few examples of said candles:

Violas - more of these coming soon, now that it's gotten cold enough to grow them again.

Maple leaves.

Ferns and larkspur. Probably one of our most popular combinations.

I got the big idea of trying to get in to Woolworth Walk because my friend Jennifer (Kung Fu Clay - super cool, slightly twisted stuff) got a space there and I went to check it out. So I was walking around and it hit me that not everything there is totally fine art, there's a fair bit of artful craft as well. So I inquired with the (very nice) management, and they gave me a list of what I needed in order to submit my work.

The most interesting requirement was an artist bio. WTF?? How am I going to come up with that? I definitely don't consider myself an artist - an artisan perhaps, but definitely not an artist. And I don't exactly have the "I got my BFA in 20xx, and am represented in the following galleries." My bio's a little more like "here are all of my degrees that in no way pertain to this endeavor," and my one overriding attribute is probably curiosity - I like to know how to do things, or make things. Which means I can pretty competently
ride a horse, run hurdles, ride a mountain bike, make pizza dough from scratch, cut a little boy's hair, knit a coat or grow flowers. All of which entertain me, but none of which imply I belong in an art gallery.

So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I took the bull by the horns and decided there was no point in trying to fake it. Here's the first paragraph of the bio:
Sumner Smith is the owner and operator of Spotted Dog Farm, and these botanical beeswax candles are the answer to one question: What happens when a corporate lawyer returns to her family farm, starts growing organic flowers, and then wonders how to preserve their beauty once the growing season is over?
Not the usual artist's bio, for sure, but apparently it worked - because I was expecting to be on the waiting list at Woolworth for approximately ever, but it turns out there aren't that many people making botanical beeswax candles, so they got me in within the week. (yowzers! wasn't expecting to be moving in quite so quickly) And so far it's fabulous.

Stop by and check it out if you're walking around downtown - and if you're hungry I'll also highly recommend the soda fountain. Good veggie burgers, and Sam (the family carnivore) was highly impressed with the hotdogs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Picture Day

This post was going to be entitled "The Year in Pictures (Or, My Mom Finally Downloads her Camera)." But then I was over at Leslie's perusing her pictures and added a few more. So now it's "The Year in Pictures, Plus a Few Older Ones that Entertain Me." Here goes, in no particular order except that which blogger establishes in its very arbitrary way.

This picture is from a couple of years ago, and is noteworthy not only for the fact that I hiked a skirt up over my chest and called it a dress, but also because pictures of me in this skirt/dress can now be found popping up in weird places in architectural renderings. Seriously. A friend of ours owns a company that produces architectural renderings, and he needed pictures of random people to drop into them and hired Leslie to take these random pictures. And I've seen a few samples that feature me in this dress. Weird, eh?

A few years ago Leslie and I helped a friend who was taking photographs for an art exhibit/fashion show (seriously). This endeavor culminated with me submerged in Beaver Lake wearing a lycra dress and a series of braids on my head that made me look like a teletubby. Not kidding. (Also note, the ranger at Beaver Lake was Not Amused.) To thank everyone who helped with the show, the women in charge had a cocktail party at their house - Leslie and I attended, and were apparently Very Amused by something going on at said party. This picture actually showed up in one of the Citizen Time galleries. It's one of my favorite pictures of Leslie.

One of my favorite knitting creations ever. Our friends, who are huge Johnny Cash fans, had a baby. Leslie really wanted to give them something unique and Cash-like, so I took the album cover from one of Johnny Cash's Greatest Hits albums and turned it into this sweater. Cool, no?

How Sam and his first cousins spent their summer at Camp Nana. They're having a whale of a good time, but I must confess that water doesn't look like much compared to all of the crystal clear pictures on the hawaii blogs I've been reading. Still, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Proof that Sam is probably the most spoiled boy in Asheville. For his birthday his grandmother got him a. . . real knight's helmet. He LOVES it. It weighs about 10 pounds and is big enough for an offensive linemen to fit over his head. It sits in a place of honor beside his bed, but so far hasn't been pressed into actual duty.

How first graders at Isaac Dickson celebrate the last day of school. I can tell you we never got to go to Lake Powhatan and run around like maniacs when i was in elementary school.

The only picture I have from my first triathlon. Seriously. It was just me and Mum (Clark was running market that day), and the battery on her camera died right after taking this picture. Apparently I was just staring at my transition area hoping it would all suddenly make sense.

One of my favorite family portraits. This was right after the Asheville Tri in July.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pool Day and A Zillion Things to Do

Just finished Masters - and I think I set a new record today - 3300 yards. I know for a real swimmer that is nothing, but for a quasi-, pseudo - swimmer like myself, that's a long way. So I'm kind of happy about that. And it felt pretty good - the inclusion of more tri people at Masters has been a godsend. It's kind of demoralizing to always be the slowest person in the pool - and with the real swimmers that's what I am. But add a few more tri swimmers and things even out. So let's hear it for all of us slow tri swimmers. :)

Now that the swim is behind me I've got a whirlwind of stuff to get done - and among it, I'm headed over to Haw Creek Honey to pick up some beeswax. So Happy to find a really local beeswax supplier. Hopefully this is the start to a long and happy relationship!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lazy Sunday

So Art in the Park was yesterday - and the weather gods were not so kind to us as they were they first time. It was cold. In fact, if you won't be offended, I'll confess that it was fu@k!ng freezing. We got there at 8:15 to set up, and left at 4:00, and in between was kind of a lot of time to stand around in the howling 40 degree wind. But we alternated taking fun field trips - down to City Market to visit our peeps, and otherwise around downtown, and so the time passed pretty quickly. And here's the shocking part of the whole thing - people still come to these things, even when rain looks imminent and the wind is howling and it's 40 degrees. Me? I'd be curled up at home (or maybe running, but you're moving and get warm), I probably wouldn't be out perusing art booths. But there are people in this world that actually do, and to them I say. . . THANK YOU! Because we actually had a pretty good day, and I find that miraculous. At one point I was actually half way hoping a customer wouldn't buy something, because I was too cold to take off my gloves and operate the credit card machine. But then sense reasserted itself.

To reward myself for my long day in the cold, I got up this morning and was in the Warren Wilson pool at 8am for a swim clinic. To each her own I suppose. It was actually fun - because I can tell that all of my attempts at learning to swim are paying off. (I mean learning to *really* swim - because I could always doggie paddle, but that was about it.) And to reward myself for being in the pool at 8 I slept away the afternoon. Ah, bliss. Ok, I did go run after I woke up, but only for 10 minutes because I'm on this super-slow return to running plan. And it does feel kind of silly to drag on all of my cold weather running gear for 10 minutes, but it's kind of fun too. Like a joke that only I'm in on. I guess you take what you get when it comes to entertaining yourself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Week in Pictures

Here are a few random pics from the last week or so:

Art in the Park - weather was GREAT, booth location was GREAT, other vendors were GREAT, customers were GREAT - and we're getting ready to do it all over again this Saturday. Weather forecast currently not so fortuitous.

Sam's fall baseball picture - see, I told you Little League is the cutest sport ever. And you haven't even seen the 5 year olds who are really too young to play but their dad insists anyway. (I'm not being sexist - it's always the dads. Trust me.)

My hair if I blow it dry. Very Diana Ross, no? It's a look I generally avoid, but the other day I left swim practice and needed to go work outside and it was cold so. . . Diana Ross. I picked Sam up at school and he took one look and said "Mom you need a haircut. You're hair's all fuzzy, and kind of sticking straight out on the sides." Perceptive fellow.

New maple leaf candles. I think the red's a pretty good contrast with the beeswax, and even Clark (v.p. of marketing and CEO of the disdainful sniff) thought they came out pretty well. I'm not being overly harsh on Clark here - an artisan crafter pretty much needs a person who makes no bones about what deserves a disdainful sniff. Otherwise you can find yourself going crazy and gluing rick-rack to god only knows what, and pretty soon you're a Cracker Barrel crafter. Seriously, it could happen.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The List

So I figured out today that there's kind of a lot of stuff I'm trying to get done. In no particular order:

1. Make booties
2. Make candles
3. Make wreaths
4. Do yoga
5. Get in an extra swim
6. Run a mile and see if foot still hurts
7. Update Etsy shop
8. Parent my child.
9. Attend parent/teacher conference. (Did this one - turns out he's smart, polite, and helpful. I'll buy that my genes might have helped some with the first, but the second two attributes would indicate he's not my child at all. Add this to the fact that likes, and is actually good at, baseball, and that the thing he's least accomplished at is running, and the chances are increasing that there was a switched at birth episode at the hospital. )
10. Stare at my tri book and my (largely blank) training plan, and hope inspiration hits.
11. Pick up Veg-N-Out for the week. Yes it's vegan. Yes it tastes about like you'd expect vegan takeout meals to taste. We've been eating it for months now. Do I Look Like I Have Time To Cook????
12. Walk the dog. He's driving me crazy.
13. Figure out enough photoshop to make a banner for my etsy shop.
14. Order seed for the fall plantings. Yes, this is a month (or two) late, but in my experience mother nature's kind of forgiving about that kind of thing.
15. Get the tractor guy to come disc up the row for the larkspur and bachelor buttons. After I fill the row completely full of horse manure. In my spare time.

There are probably a few more things to go on that list, but I think that's enough. So instead of doing any of them, I'm. . . listening to Pandora. Ok, and also making a plan for the week that'll try to incorporate all of this. I love a plan. Gives me a false sense of control that's very empowering.

As to the actual list - let's see, I've done numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 (although my mom picked him up at 11:00, so only half marks for that one), 9, and 11. For today I'm giving up on 3, 5, 13, 14 and 15. The rest of them stand a fighting chance.

And, before I forget, Art in the Park was great. The weather was perfect and we met a ton of great people. A good percentage of them just wanted to know how to get to Barleys or Tupelo Honey or the Chili Cookoff at McCormick Field, but a healthy percentage also bought something, so that's a good day all around.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Return of the Crafters

This week we're taking a departure from our regularly scheduled program. We usually (as in every Saturday for months and months on end) are vendors at City Market. And I love City Market - it's big and fun and interesting, with a ton of cool vendors. But for the next few weeks we're trying something new - Art & Craft Shows. It's what you might call an experiment, and one we're really excited about. So, here's where we'll be for the next little while:

October 3 (tomorrow!) & October 17: Art in the Park. Asheville's first Art in the Park, to be held at Pack Square from 10-5. Couldn't be a better location in Asheville, and we couldn't have a better location at the show - come find us in the red tent right in front of the Art Museum. The list of vendors looks amaaaaazing. Beautiful stuff. (check out the website if you don't believe me.)

October 10 - Church Street Art & Craft Show in downtown Waynesville from 10-5. We haven't been to this one before, but it purports to have a bazillion visitors and be way fun. They even have two stages for bands, and downtown Waynesville is like something off of a post card, so come join us for the fun. Again, look for the. . . red tent. Are you sensing a theme here?

And in the midst of all this roaming about, if you 'd like something we make but don't want to roam about yourself, I've finally managed to get the etsy site up and operational. It isn't fully stocked yet, but I'm making some progress.

So how does one prepare for all of this
art & craftiness?? By making wreaths, as evidenced here (also this serves as photographic proof that I should really listen to my mother and consider wearing makeup on a more regular basis.) In addition to my lack of makeup, please note the treehouse-like setting of my flower building. Love it.

And preparation has also included making candles like a maniac. Our sideboard is barely visible under all of the beeswax.

And lastly, prep has included a fair bit of Little League baseball, which is still hands down the cutest sport on the planet. Sam had some good plays last night, but my favorite part of the game was his teammate skipping back to the dugout after being tagged out at first. Skipping. Priceless.